Wondering deeply about what things really are is where poetry and religion intertwine. With such common roots it’s no wonder that they’ve been inextricably bound throughout the millennia.
The very first person to scan the twinkling heavens and proclaim “How I wonder what you are!” was having a theological moment. The very first person to translate that into rhymed couplets was having a poetic moment. Profound wonder and creative linguistics go together like – well… a horse and carriage. Humans almost can’t have one without the other.
Nevertheless, Rumi insisted that (aside from creating some of the most religiously compelling poetry this world has ever known) he was pretty much a quiet guy. That may have very well been the case. Think about it. After spewing forth lines such as That’s how you came here, like a star without a name. Move across the night sky with those anonymous lights… for years, what else is there really left to say?
Of course, there’s always the aftermath to contend with. Did you know, for example, that Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star can be taught to children in a gazillion ways? Some include: language arts (find the simile); science (name the closest star); mechanics (rocket-making); fashion (space-suit design)… and last – but certainly not least – Biblical application (Genesis 1:16).
Yet, there’s a simpler (more profound) way of approaching such BIG questions. Alfred Lord Tennyson holistically asked and answered them all in this succinct way:
Flower in the crannied wall, I pluck you out of the crannies, I hold you here, root and all, in my hand, Little flower — but if I could understand What you are, root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is.
Did you know…
If you’re a tad more sociable than Emily Dickinson, you might wish to check out the Albany Poets monthly listing of events.